Most parents feel they don’t know enough about sports injuries

20 Apr

USA Today – Millions of children and teens accross the country participate in organized sports.  NFHS statistics report that over 7 million competed in high school athletics at member schools.  Millions more compete starting at age 4 and 5 through their high school years in club sports.  These club sports, rec leagues, Little League, Pop Warner, etc. are all organized and run by parent volunteers.  A survey released in 2011 by Safe Kids, USA and Johnson & Johnson reveal some sobering statistics:

•Just 40% of parents feel “knowledgeable” when it comes to preventing their child’s sports injuries.

•35% say their child plays games with a certified athletic trainer present.

•29% feel that their child’s coach knows how to prevent sports injuries.

These statistics suggest that a large percentage of athletes do not have good access to knowledgeable athletic health care.  Awareness of the problem is a step in the right direction, but once awareness has been raised what is the next step?

“This epidemic of youth injuries hasn’t happened overnight, it’s a cultural change,” said William Levine, a physician and the incoming chair of STOP Sports Injuries, a campaign comprised of physicians whose goal is making sports safe for children. He says that in the past 10 years, sports have gone from a seasonal activity for kids to a lifestyle, where one sport ends, only to have another begin.

And parents say it will take another movement to eliminate this “knowledge gap.”

“We’re changing a culture and the culture doesn’t change overnight,” said Jean Rickerson, mother and founder of, an oganization created to educate coaches, parents and athletes about concussion injuries.

Youth sports injuries are at epidemic proportions and I treat high school athletes every year whose best sports days are behind them due to overuse, burnout, poor injury management, too much too soon and really just plain ignorance on the part of the coaches and parents.

Michael Sokolove, author of Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women’s Sports, agrees that educating parents, coaches and athletes is the best way to prevent injuries.

More practice, fewer games and tailored training can reduce the risk of sports injuries, says Sokolove.

He adds that the current flaw in youth sports is that there is no time for these precautions. “We don’t do it because we’re too busy playing games,” he said.

Americans emphasize winning too much, competing too much and accomplishments too much at too early an age.  We are impatient and want success now. We sacrifice the future for success now forgeting the process it takes to be successful. 

Malcom Gladwell writes in his book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to completely master a task.  This wasn’t a truth about sports, it was about life and applicable to sports.  10,000 hours is basically working for 5 years at 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year!  If we really want our young athletes to be successfull in high school, college and possibly beyond that, we need to change the culture at the youth levels from performance base to skills based.  Practice more, compete less.  Emphasize skill acquisition (running, throwing, catching, movement, Xs and Os, etc) over wins and losses.  Emphasize work ethic over statistics and wins.

News Source

One Response to “Most parents feel they don’t know enough about sports injuries”


  1. Emerging Settings – The expansion of AT services « promotetheprofession - April 22, 2011

    […] promotetheprofession A Blog For Athletic Training by an Athletic Trainer « Most parents feel they don’t know enough about sports injuries […]

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